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Ammonia leak shutters produce plant

By Jenni Spinner+

27-May-2014

Employees at a Del Monte Fresh Produce processing plant were evacuated after a possible ammonia leak.
Employees at a Del Monte Fresh Produce processing plant were evacuated after a possible ammonia leak.

A produce processing plant has evacuated more than 100 staff, and sent 14 to the hospital, due to a possible ammonia leak.

The Del Monte Fresh Produce processing plant in California evacuated approximately 170 staff after people reportedly began complaining of sore throats, burning eyes, and breathing difficulty. A total of 14 employees were transported to four different hospitals in the area to seek medical attention.

No serious illness

Tim Williams, representative of Fresno County (California) Emergency Medical Services reported none of the employee illnesses appeared to be serious. Also, a total of approximately 40 employees were examined by emergency responders on the scene, but most did not need additional medical treatment.

Williams added while the initial call to emergency responders mentioned an ammonia leak as the possible cause for the evacuation, investigation into the precise cause is still underway. Additionally, none of the illnesses arising from the incident at Fresh Del Monte Produce appears to be serious, he said.

Soon after the evacuation, Del Monte Fresh Produce staff were sent home, due to high temperatures in the Sanger area.

Additional information

Representatives of Del Monte Fresh Produce were not available for updates or comment on the situation. FoodProductionDaily will provide additional information as soon as it is available.

Del Monte Fresh Produce specializes in packaging and processing of pineapples, melons, citrus, kiwi, and other fruits and vegetables. The firm operates more than 40 fresh-cut and distribution centers around the world and sells into more than 100 countries.

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